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Soap making skills craft bright futures for boys in foster care
Enactus alumna-turned-staff Kiersten Post discusses Soapy Tales, a project from her former team. Students empowered boys in foster care to make soap, teaching them money management and job skills that prepared them for the future.
When children in foster care turn 18, they can no longer stay in foster homes and are faced with the challenge of supporting themselves. I got to help a group of boys who were in this situation while I was a member of the Flagler College Enactus team in St. Augustine, Florida.
Our team worked with St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS) to prepare young men to leave their foster homes. SAYS provides boys with food, shelter, care and therapeutic treatment. The boys needed mentorship and a source of income to help them after they left the home, so we started Soapy Tales to provide those things.
The boys make, market and sell handmade soap and supply it to a local inn and over 15 local shops. Bars of soap are branded with tags that tell the story of the project, which adds value to the product, and consumers in St. Augustine love the fact that the product is all-natural.
We visited the boys twice a week and mentored them on job, interview and social skills. With the profits from Soapy Tales, they were each able to open a checking and savings account—something they had never had before. They put half of their earnings into each account, which taught them money management while preparing them for their futures. Some weekends, we had barbecues or played basketball with the boys.
Our team found even more success in our project when we won the 2013 Enactus United States National Competition. We were also awarded a grant from the Sam’s Club Step up for Small Business Project Partnership. Soapy Tales was a really eye-opening and rewarding project to be involved with. Our team was thrilled that we could help the boys prepare to have successful futures.